WordGrinder and the escape from distraction

The Write Tool

© Lead Image © victoroancea, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © victoroancea, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 199/2017

WordGrinder offers distraction-free writing; we look at how realistic that concept is in everyday use.

Would-be writers often believe that the fewer distractions software offers, the more efficiently they can write. This is the idea behind FocusWriter [1] and Calligra Suite's Author [2]. Now, WordGrinder [3] takes the concept even further, stripping down the word processor to the bare minimum, and running on the command line, primarily through keystrokes.

In my experience, this belief is a fallacy. Most professional writers are attached to a favorite application mainly out of habit, and the tool does not make the writer. Still, it remains the assumption behind WordGrinder. David Given, its writer, states on the project's GitHub page [4] that "WordGrinder is not WYSIWYG. It is not point and click. It is not a desktop publisher. It is not a text editor. It [does] not do fonts and it barely does styles. What it does do is words. It's designed for writing text. It gets out of your way and lets you type." Click on the About page in WordGrinder's menu, and you get nothing except a reference to "cat-vacuuming:" tasks that distract from actual writing.

Still, starting with this assumption, Given has produced an old-fashioned application. To use it efficiently, you need to make some preparations and be willing to learn a few dozen keyboard shortcuts, but the result is curiously refreshing, especially if you are working without a graphical interface.


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